The St. Louis Cardinals enjoyed five selections in the first day of the 2012 First-Year Player Draft. Four were compensatory picks awarded for the loss of Albert Pujols (#23, #36), Octavio Dotel (#52) and Edwin Jackson (#59). Their own selection was 19th overall.
The five combined first round and supplemental picks are the most the Cardinals have had since 1991 when they had three first round selections and two supplemental picks. This is the first time since 2005 (Colby Rasmus and Tyler Greene) that the Cardinals have multiple first round picks, and only the sixth time (1988, 1990, 1991, 2000, 2005, 2012) that the Redbirds have selected more then one player in the opening round since the draft’s inception in 1965.
The Cardinals selected four college players and a high schooler. They are pitcher Michael Wacha, outfielder James Ramsey, third basemen Stephen Piscotty and Patrick Wisdom and catcher Steve Bean.
Hometown: Texarkana, Texas
Current Team: Texas A&M University
With the 19th overall pick in the 2012 MLB Draft, the Cardinals selected Michael Wacha, a right-handed starter out of Texas A&M. Wacha is the first college pitcher that the Cardinals have nabbed with their first overall selection since they took Chris Lambert out of Boston College in 2004. The 19th pick was part of the Cardinals’ compensation from the Los Angeles Angels for the loss of Albert Pujols.
Standing at 6-foot-6 and weighing 210 pounds, Wacha’s arsenal includes what has been called the best changeup in the 2012 draft, a straight fastball that sits in the 92-93 mph range and peaks at 96, an inconsistent curveball that slurves more than breaks, and a slider that has the potential to become an average pitch.
Though neither his curveball nor slider project to be above average, his fastball, plus changeup, and superb control give him the ceiling of a dependable, mid-rotation starter. Scout.com’s Frankie Piliere called Wacha the ninth-best prospect in the 2012 draft. Also ranked as the eighth-best prospect in the draft by Baseball America and 11th by MLB.com, most projections didn’t have Wacha sliding past the middle part of the first round.
Born in Texarkana, Texas, Wacha signed with the Texas A&M Aggies and made 25 total appearances as a freshman in 2010, ten as a starter where he combined for a record of 9-2, struck out 97 batters over 105.2 innings, and walked just 22 batters. As a sophomore, he decreased his earned-run average to 2.29 over 129.2 innings, and struck out 123 batters compared to 30 walks. During what may be his final season at Texas A&M in 2012, Wacha lowered his earned-run average to 2.06 with 116 strikeouts in 113.1 innings pitched and 20 walks. Through his collegiate career, Wacha combined for 348.2 innings and allowed only 72 free passes. His 336 career strikeouts are tops in Texas A&M history.
Hometown: Alpharetta, Georgia
Current Team: Florida State University
Just four picks after Wacha, the Cardinals stayed safe with their next selection in James Ramsey, ‘Captain’ senior outfielder out of Florida State University. At six-feet and 180 pounds, Ramsey doesn’t have a standout tool, but is a good all-around player with above-average speed, a solid bat, and plus arm strength in the outfield.
According to Scout.com’s Frankie Piliere, Ramsey was the 62nd-ranked prospect in the 2012 draft. Also ranked 51st overall by Baseball America, Ramsey is a left-handed hitter who makes consistent contact and sprays the ball to all fields. Though he doesn’t have a surplus of power, he has a very quick swing and is a line-drive hitter who could use his speed as a strength on the base paths. Ramsey most likely profiles in right field with his solid range and plus arm.
As a junior, Ramsey batted .364 with 10 home runs in 65 starts in right field for Florida State. Ramsey’s performance earned third-team All-America honors by Baseball America, NCBWA, and ABCA. Ramsey didn’t cool off in Cape Cod play, where he put up a .313 batting average, slugged nine total home runs (three of which came in the playoffs), and drove in 17 runs. Ramsey increased his batting average to .385 and led Florida State in home runs at 13 during his senior season, while earning 2012 Atlantic Coast Conference Player of the Year honors.
Originally selected by the Minnesota Twins in the 22nd round of the 2011 Draft and offered second-round money, Ramsey will be an easy sign as a college senior and will most likely fall under the $1.775 million slot value.
Related article: FSU's Ramsey plays his way into 1st round
Hometown: Pleasanton, California
Current Team: Stanford University
Continuing the Cardinals’ theme of selecting college players in this draft, St. Louis named Stephen Piscotty, third baseman out of Stanford with their first compensation pick. Built strong at 6-foot-3 and 215 pounds, Piscotty has been a standout performer with his bat through his three seasons at Stanford. Scout.com’s Frankie Piliere saw him as the 13th-best prospect
in the 2012 draft. Piscotty was ranked 18th overall by MLB.com and 26th by Baseball America. The 36th pick was the Cardinals' final draft compensation for the loss of Albert Pujols.
In 2010, Piscotty posted a .326/.387/.454 line as a freshman after failing to sign with the Los Angeles Dodgers as their 45th-round pick. He continued to improve as a sophomore to increase his batting average to .364 with an overall batting line of .364/.423/.471. Piscotty went on to capture the batting crown in the Cape Cod League against top competition with a batting average of .349. In 2012, he posted a .319 batting average with five home runs, 11 doubles, and three triples.
Piscotty projects as a doubles threat with gap power to all fields more so than a home run hitter and should continue to hit for a solid average with a very quick bat and short stroke. Though he has the strong arm for third base and should be able to stick there in the pros, Piscotty projects as a fringe-average defender. First Team All-PAC-12 in 2011 and 2012, Piscotty has the makeup and pedigree to advance quickly within the Cardinals system.
Hometown: Murrieta, California
Current Team: St. Mary’s College (CA)
As compensation for losing Octavio Dotel to the Detroit Tigers, Patrick Wisdom was the second third baseman taken in a row by the Cardinals and fourth college player.
Wisdom is a junior out of St. Mary’s who is coming off a disappointing season in which he had a .258 batting average, down from .351 the year prior. In just three seasons at St. Mary’s, Wisdom has made his mark on the school by ranking third all-time in home runs (29), tied for sixth with 39 doubles, and is tied for 10th in RBI with 109.
Wisdom’s sophomore season ranked as his best with a .351 batting average, eight home runs, 16 doubles, and 46 RBI for which he earned First Team All-West Coast Conference honors. Scouts see a strong defender at third base with an above-average arm but doubt whether he has the bat to remain at his position. With an outstanding work ethic and good arm strength, the Cardinals may move Wisdom behind the plate where he had experience as a high school player.
Wisdom has shown plus power to the pull side and has the ability to hit to all fields when everything is going well, but he’s going to have to display more consistency in making contact to profile as a major league third baseman.
According to Scout.com’s Frankie Piliere, Wisdom was the 73rd-ranked prospect in the 2012 draft.
Hometown: Rockwall, Texas
Current Team: Rockwall High School
Regarded as one of the top three high school catching prospects in the nation, Steve Bean out of Rockwall High School in Texas was selected by the Cardinals as their final day one draft pick and fifth overall. Bean represents their first high school selection in the draft and could be a hard sign, as he is committed to the University of Texas. Bean is the final compensation pick for the Cardinals, acquired from the loss of Edwin Jackson to the Washington Nationals.
Batting from the left-handed side of the plate, Bean stands at 6-foot-2 and weighs 190 pounds. Though raw defensively as a catcher, Bean has plus arm strength and is improving his receiving skills. He projects as a solid-average hitter with a bat that makes consistent contact and has future power potential. At 19-years old, Bean is at a young enough age to not be blocked by Yadier Molina if he indeed signs with St. Louis and makes his way up the farm system. Bean is athletic enough to move to an outfield spot should he not remain as a catcher.
Scout.com’s Frankie Piliere did not include Bean in his top 100 prospects in the 2012 draft.
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